Robin Uthappa’s (centre) heroic feats help India chase down a mammoth total against England on Teacher’s Day 2007 © Getty Images
India play England in the fifth and final One-Day International (ODI) at Headingley on September 5, Teacher’s Day. The occasion holds a lot of prominence in Indian culture, given that ‘gurus,’ or teachers, are held in such high regard. Shiamak Unwalla lists out the five occasions when India played a match beginning on Teacher’s Day.
1. Sri Lanka vs India at Colombo, Singer World Series, 1994 (ODI): Sri Lanka win by 7 wickets
Arjuna Ranatunga won the toss and put India in to bat on what turned out to be a tough pitch for batting. Due to inclement weather, the match had to be reduced to 25 overs a side. None of India’s batsmen could get big score though most of them got starts. The eventual score of 125 for five was always going to be tough to defend. Pramodya Wickramasinghe’s three for 28 ensured that India weren’t able to break free.
Roshan Mahanama’s unbeaten 50 and a match-winning 41 off just 48 balls from Ranatunga helped Sri Lanka chase down India’s total in the final over after the Indian bowlers did their best to pull the match back. Wickramasinghe was named man of the match for his spell, as Sri Lanka won by seven wickets.
India 125 for 5 in 25 overs (Vinod Kambli 30*; Pramoda Wickramasinghe 3 for 28) lost to Sri Lanka 126 for 3 in 24.2 overs (Roshan Mahanama 50*, Arjuna Ranatunga 41; Anil Kumble 1 for 17) by 7 wickets.
2. India vs West Indies at Singapore, Coca Cola Singapore Challenge, 1999 (ODI): West Indies win by 42 runs
It was the match in which Wavell Hinds made his ODI debut for West Indies. West Indies skipper Brian Lara won the toss and decided to bat first in a contest that was reduced to 30 overs per side. West Indies got off to a horrible start, as Ridley Jacobs was snapped up by Debasish Mohanty for a golden duck. West Indies were soon reduced to 85 for five before Lara (60 off 43 balls) and Ricardo Powell (46 off 44) started smashing the Indian bowlers all around. West Indies finished at 196 for seven in their 30 overs.
In reply, Sadagoppan Ramesh was dismissed for naught, but Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid stitched together a good 73-run stand. However, after both men were dismissed, none of the other Indian batsmen could convert their starts as India finished 42 runs adrift.
West Indies 196 for 7 in 30 overs (Ricardo Powell 46, Brian Lara 60; Debasis Mohanty 3 for 52) beat India 154 for 8 in 30 overs (Sourav Ganguly 32, Rahul Dravid 39; Reon King 2 for 25, Nixon McLean 2 for 32) by 42 runs.
3. England vs India at The Oval, India in England Test series, 2002 (Test): Draw
It was Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th Test and England won the toss and batted first. Michael Vaughan, opening the innings, played one of his best knocks to score a dominating 195 to propel England to a colossal 515. Harbhajan Singh took a fifer, but India lacked the penetrative abilities to get past Vaughan.
In reply, Virender Sehwag was out early, but Sanjay Bangar played a resolute innings, blunting the new ball and allowing the batsmen following him to capitalise. However, the match — and indeed the series — belonged to India’s “Wall.” Rahul Dravid’s magnificent 217 ensured that India saw off the challenge of saving the Test, as the match ended in a tame draw, with only 20 wickets falling across five days.
England 515 (Marcus Trescothick 57, Michael Vaughan 195, Mark Butcher 54, Dominic Cork 52; Harbhajan Singh 5 for 115) and 114 (Marcus Trescothick 58*, Michael Vaughan 47*) drew against India 508 (Rahul Dravid 217, Sachin Tendulkar 54, Sourav Ganguly 51; Andy Caddick 4 for 114).
4. England vs India at Lord’s, NatWest Challenge, 2004 (ODI): India win by 23 runs
India lost the first two ODIs, and with it the series. They headed to Lord’s with nothing to play for but pride. Sourav Ganguly, who was going through a lean spell with the bat, won the toss and batted first. India were soon 48 for three, but Ganguly and Dravid dug deep score gritty fifties. Ganguly went on to make a match-winning 90, as India just about crossed 200.
The Indian bowlers then came up with a sensational bowling performance to restrict England, as none barring Michael Vaughan (74) could cross forty. England were in with a chance for as long as Vaughan was in the middle, but after he was dismissed (he was the eighth man out), an Indian win was just a formality.
India 204 in 49.3 overs (Sourav Ganguly 90, Rahul Dravid 52; Steve Harmison 4 for 22) beat England 181 in 48.2 overs (Michael Vaughan 74; Ashish Nehra 3 for 26, Harbhajan Singh 3 for 28) by 23 runs.
5. England vs India at The Oval, NatWest Series, 2007 (ODI): India win by 2 wickets
England won the toss and chose to bat first in what was to become possibly one of the most thrilling ODIs ever played between India and England. Despite fifties from Kevin Pietersen and debutant Luke Wright, and a sensational ton from Owais Shah, the spotlight belonged to Dimitri Mascarenhas. The all-rounder slogged Yuvraj Singh for five sixes off the final five balls of the innings, as England got to a mammoth 316.
In reply, India were off to flier thanks to the old faithful pair of Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, who put on 150 for the opening wicket. However, India crashed from 150 for no loss to 234 for five, with over 80 runs needed to win off the final 10 overs — a feat that was still a daunting prospect in the days where T20Is had not yet become popular.
MS Dhoni and Robin Uthappa then combined for a superb 60-run stand before Dhoni’s dismissal. Uthappa didn’t let that stop him though, as he mixed caution with splendid manoeuvrability — and a dollop of luck to boot — to help India to a famous win by two wickets with just two balls left in the game.
England 316 for 6 in 50 overs (Ian Bell 49, Kevin Pierersen 53, Owais Shah 107*, Luke Wright 50; Zaheer Khan 1 for 43, Ajit Agarkar 1 for 63, Piyush Chawla 1 for 44) lost to India 317 for 8 in 49.4 overs (Sourav Ganguly 53, Sachin Tendulkar 94, Gautam Gambhir 47, Robin Uthappa 47*; Stuart Broad 2 for 46, Dimitri Mascarenhas 2 for 55) by 2 wickets.
(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with Cricket Country. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time)